“I'm disabled.”

"No you're not."

What do you say to that? How do you explain to the person playing Zerg against you that the guy that just nuked half of his own base and consequently won the game, is disabled? The big reveal at the end of a match to show that a disabled gamer could actually compete and do well was what I lived for. But sometimes people didn't believe me. Games have always provided me with a sense of escape from my disability and recently, they provided an even more valuable service. I have the ability to interact with people on SWTOR without them having any idea that I’m disabled, but my gaming experiences weren’t always so positive. I’ve scratched more than one controller by lobbing it at my TV, because my fingers weren’t fast enough to input the combination to open the door or fend off the enemy.

To that end, I’ve always been aware of the issue of accessibility in gaming and last spring I became more directly interested in it. As the capstone for my honor’s program at Southwest Minnesota State University, I wrote a paper on the many benefits of gaming for the disabled. When I finished my paper I was struck by one thought: disabled people have accessibility standards for almost everything, but not games, and since games have such a positive impact on a large portion of the disabled population, wouldn’t it be appropriate to have some standard for game accessibility? 

This is as far as I got before the end of my junior year of college. I knew that if I were going to create an objective standard for game accessibility I would need to learn about the industry as thoroughly as possible, and if possible, raise awareness of the issue of game accessibility. 

But how would I do this? Where in Minnesota could I find an artery to the beating heart of the video game industry? Quite unexpectedly, I found out that GI not only was located in Minnesota, but their offices were about ten minutes away from my home in Plymouth. 

While I’m interning at Game Informer, my goal will not only be to help the magazine and website in any way that I can, but also, hopefully, to raise awareness of the issues surrounding game accessibility, since I would hate for a time to come in which future gamers cannot experience the sense of empowerment and equality that games have given me, or that they wouldn’t have the joy of revealing their disability to their opponent  who they just beat.